VANCOUVER – The BCCDC is urging restaurant owners and consumers to avoid serving and consuming raw or undercooked Effingham XSM (extra small) oysters harvested between September 7 and September 21, 2010.
Vancouver Coastal Health has identified three clusters of persons reporting diarrhoea and other intestinal symptoms among consumers who ate raw oysters at events and restaurants in Vancouver and Richmond. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed that all three clusters were linked to batches of oysters harvested between September 7th and 14th (specifically, Effingham XSM (extra small) raw oysters with lot numbers 172688, 172929, and NY-OY-10091401). The CFIA has initiated a recall of these products. More information about the recall can be found at: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/recarapp/2010/20100923be.shtml
Other lots of Effingham XSM (extra small) raw oysters harvested between September 7 and September 21, 2010 have been distributed throughout BC.
RAW, UNDERCOOKED OYSTER CONSUMPTION ADVISORYis date is noted on the shellfish
harvest tag that accompanies all oysters, although this information may not be available to consumers. We urge consumers and restaurant owners to cook Effingham XSM oysters.
Oysters are grown in coastal waters and feed by filtering large amounts of water through their gills. In water contaminated with norovirus, this can lead to the accumulation of the virus within the flesh and gut of the oyster. Viruses cannot be removed from oysters through cleaning. However, cooking kills norovirus and other organisms that can cause gastrointestinal illness.
To reduce the risk of illness, you should cook oysters thoroughly, making sure they reach 90ºC (195ºF) for 90 seconds by checking with a meat thermometer. You can also reduce the risk of illness by buying shellfish only from approved sources.
Symptoms of the reported illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. Most people showed symptoms within 48 hours of eating raw oysters and recovered in one to two days. These symptoms are typical of viral gastroenteritis caused by norovirus.
BCCDC, along with regional Health Authorities and partners within the federal and provincial governments are investigating the cause of this outbreak and have been working with the shellfish industry to reduce the risk of contamination in commercially harvested shellfish.
Anyone becoming ill with diarrhea and vomiting after eating shellfish should report their illness to their local public health department listed in the Blue Pages of the telephone book, or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. If symptoms are severe or persist, they should see their physician.
For more information on consumer and self-harvesting please visit www.bccdc.ca and www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca.